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Can you teach English in Japan permanently?


Teaching English in Japan is a popular option for many foreigners, but can it be a permanent career choice? In this article, we will explore the requirements, challenges, and opportunities of teaching English in Japan on a long-term basis.

Qualifications and Requirements

To teach English in Japan, you need a Bachelor’s degree and a valid work visa. You also need to be proficient in English and have a working knowledge of Japanese. Many schools and employers prefer candidates who have teaching experience, TEFL/TESOL certification, or a Master’s degree in education.

Japanese Snack Box

Types of Teaching Jobs

There are several types of teaching jobs available in Japan, including private language schools, public schools, universities, and corporate training programs. Each type of job has its own requirements, benefits, and challenges.

Salary and Benefits

The salary for English teachers in Japan varies depending on the type of job and the employer. Private language schools typically offer lower salaries but provide more flexibility and support. Public schools and universities offer higher salaries but require more qualifications and longer hours. Benefits may include housing allowances, health insurance, and paid vacation time.

Cultural Differences

Living and working in Japan can be a culture shock for foreigners. Japanese culture is very different from Western culture in terms of social norms, work ethic, and communication styles. It is important to be aware of these cultural differences and to adapt accordingly.

Language Barrier

Although English is widely taught in Japan, many Japanese people still struggle with speaking and understanding it. This can be frustrating for English teachers who are trying to communicate with their students or colleagues. Learning some basic Japanese can help bridge the language gap and make communication easier.

Work Culture

Japanese work culture is notoriously strict and hierarchical. English teachers may find themselves working long hours, attending numerous meetings, and adhering to strict rules and regulations. It is important to be aware of these expectations and to maintain a professional attitude at all times.

Visa Renewal

To teach English in Japan permanently, you will need to renew your work visa every few years. This process can be time-consuming and complicated, so it is important to plan ahead and gather all the necessary documents and information.

Career Advancement

Teaching English in Japan can be a rewarding career, but it can also be limiting in terms of advancement opportunities. English teachers may need to pursue additional qualifications or switch to a different field if they want to advance their careers.

Job Security

English teaching jobs in Japan are generally stable and secure, but they are not immune to economic downturns or changes in demand. It is important to have a backup plan and savings in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Personal Growth

Teaching English in Japan can be an enriching and life-changing experience. It allows you to immerse yourself in a new culture, learn a new language, and make meaningful connections with people from all over the world. It can also help you develop valuable skills such as communication, adaptability, and cross-cultural understanding.


Teaching English in Japan permanently is possible, but it requires dedication, qualifications, and a willingness to adapt. By understanding the requirements, challenges, and opportunities of this career path, you can make an informed decision about whether or not it is right for you.

Are English teachers in demand in Japan?

Japan has a strong need for English teachers but also a lot of competition. To qualify for a teaching position in Japan, you will need to have a TEFL certification and a four-year college degree. A clean criminal record and native fluency in English are also mandatory. The average monthly earnings for English teachers in Japan range from $2,500 to $3,000 USD.

Can you live off of being an English teacher in Japan?

The average monthly salary for first-time English teachers in Japan is between 247,700 and 286,200 Yen ($2,250 – $2,600 USD). Those participating in the JET Program can expect to earn an average of 280,000 Yen ($2,550 USD) per month during their first year, with yearly raises. This information was last updated on January 4, 2023.

Is it worth becoming an English teacher in Japan?

In Japan, there is a high demand for English teachers who are also highly respected. Teaching in Japan offers good pay and benefits, but it also comes with challenges such as long workdays and adjusting to a different work culture.

How long can I teach English in Japan?

Typically, teaching agreements in Japan range from six months to a year. However, if you’re hesitant to commit to a long-term stay, you can begin with a temporary summer job in Japan to fully experience teaching and living overseas.

Can an American get a job in Japan?

Individuals who do not possess a work visa as U.S. citizens are prohibited from working in Japan. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides valuable resources on visas and residency in Japan.

Is there an age limit to teach English in Japan?

There is no age restriction for acquiring a work visa to teach English, but older teachers may have difficulty finding employment at a local school or institute. In Japan, the majority of individuals retire at the relatively young age of 60, which is earlier than in Western countries.

Networking and Community

Building a network and community can be an essential part of teaching English in Japan. Participating in local events, joining language exchange groups, or attending professional development workshops can help you connect with other teachers and locals. These connections can provide valuable support, advice, and opportunities for growth.

Teaching English Online

With the rise of online teaching, teaching English in Japan is no longer limited to physical locations. Many English teachers in Japan now teach online, which can provide more flexibility and higher earning potential. However, it also requires a stable internet connection and the ability to adapt to new technologies.

Teaching English as a Side Hustle

Teaching English in Japan can also be a viable side hustle, especially for those who are not ready to commit to a full-time teaching job. Private tutoring, conversation exchange programs, or teaching on freelance platforms can provide extra income and flexibility.

Travel Opportunities

Teaching English in Japan also provides ample opportunities for travel and exploration. Japan has many beautiful cities, scenic landscapes, and cultural landmarks that are worth visiting. Additionally, many schools offer paid vacation time, which can be used to travel within or outside of Japan.


Teaching English in Japan can be a fulfilling and exciting career path for those who are passionate about education and culture. While there are challenges and requirements to consider, the benefits and opportunities of this career make it an attractive option for many. Whether you choose to teach English in Japan permanently or as a side hustle, it can be a rewarding experience that allows you to grow both personally and professionally.

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